I've been remiss...
It's been a hell of a last 9 months or so. Laid off in February, underemployed until just last month. Among other things, the blog has suffered. First it was the general funk that accompanies what became is the worst unemployment experience in my life. I wasn't turned out of my apartment of a decade; nor did I starve. A lot of good, good friends and close acquaintances had my back. Perhaps the depth of our national economic crisis has brought out in the best of folks or maybe after almost 11 years in the same neighborhood I've found my community: I've certainly learned that it takes a village to survive The Great Recession.
Whatever the reason, I did survive. I've back in a full-time job thanks to some very fine folks in the bike community here. It's as the Resource Development Manager for the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation. That's a fancy title for grant-writer and all around fund-raiser. Bickerdike is a member-based, non-profit community development corporation that advocates for, builds, and maintains affordable housing in the Latino and African-American neighborhoods on the northwest. That's a big change for all kinds of reasons. But I'm liking both the mission and the organization. It's also exposing to a whole new world in this great, grand city.
Second, nine months is a damned long time. There were days when my own problems coupled with the general mood of the country nearly overwhelmed me. I kept my sanity by riding ... a lot of riding. With a little help from my friends, I put together The 2nd Winston's Tweed Ride on 12 September. A lot of new folks joined us on a Don't Mention the War bummel that ended up at my neighborhood's annual German-American Festival. Get it?
Then a few weeks ago, Sir Aaron heard about a new tweed ride in Grand Rapids, MI. We loaded up the steeds on his cage and headed over for the day! Amanda, the organizer, as well as her small group of tight friends made us very welcome indeed. I don't think we considered the impact two big city gents would make on our country cousins. And let me say, Grand Rapids is a fantastic city. Imagine a slightly smaller version of Milwaukee, with the same turn of the century architecture, surrounded by rolling meadows and gentle hills a few minutes from Lake Michigan. I would seriously consider moving there if the job were right.
Even outside the City of Big Shoulders,
it takes a tweedy village to survive...